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How to get from Himeji Station to Mount Shosha and Engyoji Temple

The ropeway to Mount Shosha, Himeji, Japan

Located about 30 minutes from Himeji Station is Mount Shosha, home to Engyoji, a beautiful temple complex with over 1,000 years of history. The many buildings of Engyoji are scattered around a dense forest along Mount Shosha, linked by peaceful, tree-lined trails. The area is a popular destination during the fall when the leaves start to change. Engyoji was founded in 966 during the Heian period by Shoku Shonin. Over the centuries, emperors, monks, aristocrats, and now tourists have visited…

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Day trip to Himeji: What to do with one day in Himeji

Himeji Castle, one of Japan's twelve original castles

If you are looking to take a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, then look no further than Himeji. Himeji, located less than an hour from Kyoto and Osaka by shinkansen (bullet train), makes for a great day trip. The main reason for visiting Himeji is to see the magnificent Himeji Castle, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s twelve original castles. For over 400 years, the castle has remained intact even with the threat of war, earthquakes,…

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Tonki: For 80 years, serving the best tonkatsu in Tokyo, Japan

Rohsu-Katsu Teishoku. 160g of perfectly fried loin cutlet at Tonki Tonkatsu in Tokyo, Japan

Out of all the tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) restaurants in Tokyo, numbering in the thousands, nowhere seems to do it as well as Tonki near Meguro Station. For almost 80 years, Tonki has been serving tonkatsu, a type of pork cutlet which is breaded in Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried until crispy. It may be old-fashioned, but Tonki is an institution of Tokyo. Many will debate which is better: Tonki or Maisen. I tend to side with Tonki and I’m…

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Purchasing a Japan Rail Pass? Important things you need to know

A 7 day Japan Rail Pass

If you are planning to travel to Japan, and want to explore this beautiful country by train, then purchasing a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is a must. These train passes, good for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days of travel, will allow you to move around the country effortlessly, and most importantly, economically. When traveling to a new country, and using a new form of transportation, you probably have questions such as: What is a Japan Rail Pass? How…

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13 amazing Buddhist temples in Japan you should not miss

Kinkaku-ji Temple, the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto

13. Nanzenji Temple – Kyoto Not far from one end of the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto is Nanzenji Temple, an extensive temple surrounded by smaller sub-temples. While the main grounds are free to enter, the surrounding temples require an entrance fee. Hard to miss is San-mon Gate, an enormous wooden gate first constructed in 1628. Just outside Hojo is a unique site that seems out of place: a large brick aqueduct. This aqueduct was built during the Meiji Period between…

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Tori no Ichi Festival at Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

The Tori no Ichi Festival at Hanazono Shrine

Each November, the Tori no Ichi Festival takes place at Hanazono Shrine, a Shinto shrine located not far from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan. At Tori no Ichi festivals, held all over Japan, lucky charms or rakes known as Kumade are available for sale. The festival held at Hanazono Shrine is one the most important in the Kantō region of Japan. In Tokyo, you can find these festivals at many other temples including Asakusa Temple and Chokoku Temple. 2018 Dates:…

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Fuunji in the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo, Japan: Tsukemen Ramen

Large Deluxe Tsukemen, Fuunji, Tokyo, Japan

The first time I tasted a bowl of tsukemen was at Fuunji, a small and unassuming ramen shop hidden on a quiet street near Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan. Fuunji is considered by many, including me, to serve the best bowl of tsukemen in Tokyo. Every time I return to Tokyo, I make sure to stop by Fuunji first. Even with its hidden location, Fuunji is no secret. You should always expect a line out the door. Even once inside,…

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Sushi Kyotatsu inside Tokyo’s Narita International Airport

Nigiri Miyako

Sushi Kyotatsu is my go to spot for sushi every time I find myself on a layover at Terminal 1 of Tokyo Narita International Airport. Delicious and fresh sushi in the most unlikely of places: the airport. When you think of airport food, the last thing that probably pops into your head is sushi. But Sushi Kyotatsu is different. It’s good. I take that back, it’s great. Better than most of the sushi…I have ever had. Though pricey (you’re in…

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Harajuku Gyoza Lou for some of the best dumplings in Tokyo

Pan Fried Dumplings with Garlic and Leek, Harajuku Gyoza Lou, Tokyo, Japan

Harajuku Gyoza Lou is a popular and casual restaurant located in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo that has perfected the art of Chinese-style dumplings (gyoza). If you often have trouble deciding what to order at restaurants, have no fear. The affordable menu is simple: pan fried dumplings or steamed dumplings with your choice of original or garlic and leek (chives). The restaurant was located a stone’s throw away from Meiji-jingumae Station on a side street just off busy Omotesandō street.…

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Narita or Haneda? Which of Tokyo’s airports should you fly into

First time Japan visitors often ask me, “Which airport in Tokyo should I fly into, Narita or Haneda?” This is a tough question as there is no easy answer. Both airports are world class. They offer great services and some of the best on-time performances of any airport in the world. Narita International Airport is located further from central Tokyo than Haneda International Airport. Almost all international flights land at this airport. There are plenty of public transportation options to…

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